Looks like the Avon Lady isn't exactly in the mood these days. AvonProducts
And neither should it be. If there is one thing any investor wants, it's information. Not one intelligent choice can be made without valuable data, and, as the saying goes, the more the merrier. Companies are complex financial entities whose business plans alone oftentimes require a healthy dose of due diligence. But the bigger notion is this: The prospects of these complicated corporate structures are changing all the time. Analysts -- as well as individual shareholders -- are constantly running numbers and updating projection models. Trying to figure out a proper discounted value of future cash flows or dividend growth is more easily (and confidently) accomplished with frequent guidance.
I understand the other side of the coin as well: Public companies are getting tired of playing the capricious games on Wall Street. Traders love a stock one minute and hate it the next -- often over the lack of an extra penny in earnings or the failure of flying past a number whispered in the ears of one power broker or another. The desire to concentrate on the business at hand, as opposed to worrying about how a mid-quarter update is going to affect market capitalization, is understandable.
In the end, however, I think most people want the best information available as soon as possible. It's true that investors may be saturated with data, and might even prefer to just judge a company four times a year (or even on an annual basis). Hey, you won't get an argument from me that there's a lot of information out there that isn't necessarily important. After all, a bad mid-quarter update by Avon should never be used by itself to sell the stock. Still, I'd rather be the one who decides whether guidance is relevant or frivolous. Besides, many people on the Street are now cynical regarding what this decision may portend for the company's upcoming quarter, feeling it might be an early indication of bad tidings. Just releasing the guidance could have been a more judicious move.
While I don't like this new policy, I do understand that companies might make such a protocol the trend. I'll miss the days, of course, when more information sometimes led to buying opportunities as short-term traders indiscriminately dumped quality shares because of transient missteps. Cheaper is not always the best way to go when buying something (health-care services, for example), but when it comes to stock, value is desirable.
More information on the Avon Lady:
- Avon's Q1 Made in China
- Avon's Chinese New Year
- Avon's No Bargain
- Discuss Avon Products at our discussion board.